The In Trust Center for Theological Schools was awarded three grants in November, totaling more than $4.2 million. The funding covers a major study of governance in theological education, communications enhancement plans for the In Trust Center, and continuation of the Wise Stewards Initiative.

The Center was awarded $3,289,000 by Lilly Endowment Inc. for new work to examine governing models in theological education, along with development of wise practices. Lilly Endowment awarded a $500,000 grant through its Communications Capacity Building Initiative, which will help sharpen the Center’s communications efforts. Additionally, the In Trust Center was awarded $432,000 by the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust to continue board training through the Center’s Wise Stewards Initiative.

News of all three grants came back-to-back in one afternoon.

“The entire team is deeply grateful to both Lilly Endowment and the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust for showing such faith in us,” said Amy Kardash, president of the In Trust Center. “I believe the work we’ll produce will be very helpful for the field. We will be able to study leadership, inform leaders of wise practices, and provide additional training.”

The new governance initiative will begin in 2024 with a study of theological school advisory and governing boards in partnership with the Association of Theological Schools, and will include research, interviews, and programmatic work.

The communications grant will help the In Trust Center survey the field about ways people receive information and communicate, which in turn will direct future communications and help the Center reach more people with information suitable to them.

The Murdock grant funds the Wise Stewards Initiative, providing schools the opportunity to attend cohort-based training and coaching in governance leadership.


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